Tommy Tuberville On Alabama Deeming Embryos Children: Great! Wait, Bad!

In the span of three minutes, the GOP senator said he was “all for it,” didn’t agree with it, supports IVF and just needs to read the bill. (There is no bill.)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said Thursday that he is “all for” the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision that frozen embryos are children.

He also said he opposes the effects of the ruling. And that he supports fertility treatments like IVF that are now being denied to women across his state as a result of the court’s ruling. And that he wants to read the legislation more closely before saying more — except there is no legislation.

The Alabama senator delivered this spectacular series of responses in the span of three minutes when asked for his reaction to the court’s unprecedented decision on Tuesday.

The ruling is already having a chilling effect on families and fertility clinics in the state, who are now at risk of being held liable for wrongful death if they destroy unused embryos. At least two Alabama health clinics have halted IVF treatments, a devastating development for families in the state trying to have children who cannot do so without fertility assistance.

Tuberville initially didn’t hesitate to praise the court’s ruling when asked about it by reporters attending the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I was all for it,” the Republican senator said cheerfully. “You know, you just gotta look at everything going on in the country. It’s just an attack on families, an attack on kids. You know, anything we can do for the future of our young people because they’re our No. 1 commodity.”

His remarks made no sense, as families are now being denied the ability to try to have children through IVF. “We need to have more kids,” he continued. “We need to have an opportunity to do that. I thought this was the right thing to do.”

When it was pointed out that Alabama health clinics are halting IVF treatments as a result of the court decision, Tuberville started talking about abortion.

“Well, that’s for another conversation,” he said. “I think the big thing is, right now, you protect, you go back to the situation and try to work it out to where it’s best for everybody. I mean, that’s what the whole abortion issue is about.”

Except the court’s decision wasn’t about abortion. And the concern now is that families in Alabama might not have access to IVF anymore.

“I know, I know,” Tuberville said about that. “I agree, people need to have access. We need more kids. We need people to have the opportunity to have kids.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has no idea what is going on.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has no idea what is going on.
Alex Wong via Getty Images

HuffPost asked what he would say to women in Alabama who will no longer have access to IVF treatments as a result of this ruling. Tuberville said it was “unfortunate” and “hard.”

“Really hard. Because again, you want people to have that opportunity,” he said. “We need more kids. I’d have to look at the entire bill, how it’s written. I have not seen it.”

Except there is no bill. This was an Alabama Supreme Court decision, not a bill passed by the state legislature.

“Well, I know that,” Tuberville snapped. “But I haven’t looked at it. This is a state issue.”


When another reporter asked if he thought the court’s decision would alienate swing voters in the November general election, the senator shrugged.

“I don’t know, it might, some,” he said, downplaying its significance. “You don’t hear a lot of folks talk about it. That’s not a big conversation.”

Tuberville then backtracked and agreed that there is a conversation about this happening right now, and that fertility treatments are not a partisan issue.

“We don’t need that,” he said of the court’s decision halting IVF treatments. “We need people to have an opportunity to have kids.”

Another reporter asked Tuberville if he disagrees, then, with the court’s decision to treat embryos as children. This time, he simply feigned ignorance on it.

“I’d have to look at what they’re agreeing to or not agreeing to,” he replied, before walking away. “I haven’t seen that.”

Late Tuesday, Tuberville’s office emailed HuffPost to say that an Alabama state legislator is planning to introduce legislation at some point stating that embryos aren’t viable until they are implanted in a woman’s uterus.

As of publication, and at the time of the interview, no such legislation had been introduced or previewed.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot